Reviewed by: Josh Bizeau, age 16
Starring: Veronica Taylor, Rachel Lillis, Eric Stuart, Ikue Ootani, Philip Bartlett | Director: Kunihiko Yuyama | Producer: Norman Grossfeld | Writers: Norman Grossfeld, Michael Haigney, Takeshi Shudo | Distributor: Warner Brothers
Let me begin by saying that this will probably be one of the most controversial G-rated cartoon movies made in this century. It’s not violent enough to be rated “PG”, but it’s also a little too violent to be rated “G”. There are a lot of things that many parents will not approve of, but other parents may not care either way. Most parents I’ve met are of the latter belief, but there are still many who believe the former.
The plot of the movie is pretty basic. A Pokémon named Mewtwo becomes infuriated at the professors who created him when he finds out that he is just an experiment to be studied over and over again. He destroys the laboratory he is being held in and vows to destroy all humans and Pokémon, but not before he has “cloned” all the existing Pokémon for himself to do his own bidding when he has destroyed everyone else.
There are many scenes with exploding objects (buildings, walls, etc.), but there is no graphic gore or blood given off by any of the movie’s characters. There are also scenes with the Pokémon hitting each other in different ways, and there are other scenes where some Pokémon use their powers against another. This violence will scare many little kids, so this is a definite point to start thinking whether you want your little 6-year old to see this movie. There is—of course—no vulgar language of any kind, and no sexual scenes of any kind.
Some of the positive aspects of this movie include the value of friendship and sticking together in tough times, even when the odds seem against you. Other commendable subjects include the point that violence does not solve every problem in this world. Sometimes, issues need to be talked over rather then tussled over to be solved. And, of course, the basic premise that good triumphs over evil is prevalent in “Pokémon: The First Movie”.
The main topics to talk about in this movie between parents and their children (especially Christian families) is the issue of “Psychic” powers and abilities. Mewtwo and Mew (the Pokémon Mewtwo was cloned after) show off their “Psychic” (or “Magical”) powers in this movie in many ways. Mewtwo simply twirls his hand and an ocean begins to churn and storm with huge waves. Mewtwo creates energy balls with his hand that he throws at many characters during the movie. Mew and Mewtwo both create “shield”-like orbs around themselves before they go into combat with each other and then in the climax of their fight, they both release these massive energy waves. All of this is, of course, fictitious, and is really no more harmful then the “magical” powers that characters use in a Tolkein novel; but many parents may wish to discuss these topics with their children.
The filmmaking quality of this movie is—despite what some critics say—pretty decent. The animation is very good (better then the TV series, at least), the characters are very likeable, and—for a little kid Pokémon fan—there’s never a dull moment in this movie. Parents, however, may want to see it for themselves first before letting their children watch it, for there are many subjects to be discussed in it. But any parent who lets their children watch the TV series regularly should have no problem with their kids seeing this movie.
I am personally a Pokémon fan, and I and my parents have no problems with this popular Japanese TV anime. Other parents that I’ve met feel differently, however, and either view the series as “evil” or as a big “marketing scheme.”
This may not be the best movie of the season, but there are many positive aspects about it. However, with this in mind, there are still some detractions that many Christian believe could be very dangerous to children.
Year of Release—1999